About smellslikeaninsight

20 year brand strategist addicted to insights

Today was an interesting day

On a personal level and a professional level today was very interesting.  I went down for a big meeting in Silicon Valley and was one of 2 women in the room of 14 or so.  Nothing unusual about being the minority in technology once again. 

Only this time the 2 women were the most senior folk in the room.  Times they are ch-ch-changing.. though not fast enough in my opinion.


The demise of raw intelligence?


Today I woke up excited to spend the day at Stanford at the MediaX conference – thinking it would send me back to Oxford days. But I am dismayed to notice that while academic speakers are still noted more for their ideas than their presentation skills what has changed in the, ahem, 20 years since my graduation, is my tolerance for this. We live in a world that so perpetuates packaging over content that intelligence is no longer enough.


This is a pretty big day.  It’s the last time in ALL of our lifetimes that the date will read like this.  The next time will be  1.1.(30)11.  I remember so well 7.7.77 (GREAT teacher when I was 7) and 8.8.88 (surly teenager) – 9.9.99 is a bit of a blur which means I was doing what you are supposed to do in your 20s.  2000s was a wash out cos there is no 0 day or 0 month. 01.01.01 was extremely cool.  I wrote as many checks as I could.  It was very satisfying.  01.11.11 was when a good friend of mine had her baby.  And here we are.  12.12.12.  And that’s it.  No more. Sad.  If anyone reads posts like this in 1.1.3011 then hello I feel the same as you do now.

December self-experiment

Am I on Facebook because it adds value to my life or am I on Facebook because of FOMO?  I.e. is it a positive or a negative in my life?

Will I miss anything significant by not being on it?  Is anyone else as pissed off as I am about their lack of transparency due to privacy?  Or will I join in again because I am a solo protester?  Let’s find out.  I will catalog my feelings and more importantly ACTIONS on this.

I just realized that I forgot to let my ‘friends’ know I was deactivating my account.  Kind of like wrapping a present and then wondering if you left the tag on.  Or is this the beginning of the nagging sense of FOMO?

This is going to be interesting.

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Why America needs a challenger brand now, ahead of 2016.

Americans have collectively breathed a sigh of relief at the end of the loud season of electioneering.  The constant barrage of ads and polls that polluted our fall airwaves and websites is  over. Airtime is reportedly a quarter of the price in some battleground States.

But I personally believe the Democratic election campaign of 2016 needs to already be underway.  Why?

Well if the Democrats act as if campaign season is over and simply go back to partisan politics as usual, and we continue this gridlock for four more years, then any failure of movement in the next four years will be on them, and the Republicans will succeed in their waiting game to take back the nation.

But If the Democrats acted like a challenger brand and issued a rallying cry to the nation to put pressure on Congress to mend their differences, the Republicans will have no excuse not to compromise.   And the failure to move the nation over the next four years will be all on them.

So 2016’s  campaigning should start now.  And it should be around pushing us to push the Republicans not to filibuster for 16 quarters.  Americans don’t like to wait after all.

Maybe Hilary has some money she can kick in?


The battle for our attention…

The average American (if there is such a thing) is interrupted every 17 minutes.  The battle for our attention has never been more epic.  We are used to digesting bite-sized bits of content. I think it is interesting to consider these facts in the light of the movie business.  Asking Americans to give up 1.5 to 2 hours of their time on a movie is an increasingly difficult proposition, hence the rise of the lower involvement TV drama.  A recent Vanity Fair cover story confirmed the ascendance of TV over movies.
I have recently noticed a phenomenon that confirms this struggle and that is the simple fact that the length of a movie trailer seems to be increasing. A few weeks ago I saw a trailer for ‘Robot and Frank’ that infuriated me.  In Hollywood’s desire to pull me in to spending 90 minutes with their content, they spent a whopping 2.5 minutes on a seductive trailer. But in that 2.5 minutes they mistakenly gave far too much away.  I could forecast the ending before the movie began.  Do not buy popcorn. Do not pass go.  And the promoters of this movie are not alone.   In my opinion, most movie trailers should now carry a spoiler alert.

Forgive me for the crude analogy, but I see a strange parallel with the ‘oldest profession’ in the world.  The cheaper the hooker the more they have to display to lure a customer.  Personally I wish more movies were like high-class escorts and were confident to show less and charge more.

By the way, ‘Robot and Frank’ is an awesome movie (Frank Langella is a absolute delight) and certainly did not need to shed its clothes to get me to open my wallet.  Just don’t watch the trailer…